MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Oddfellows Playhouse and MARC: Community Resources are embarking on a new programmatic effort providing weekly theater arts training to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
will provide instruction for MARC’s consumers in many theatrical
skills, including Beginning Acting, Mask Theater, and Comedy and
Improvisation. The arts training will build important skills for
consumers to use outside of the theater. They will develop
collaborative ensemble skills, become more comfortable with public
speaking, learn to better communicate ideas, and express their
imaginations and emotions.
process of theater is a skill building process, and we believe that
MARC’s consumers will strengthen fundamental life skills that will help
them live more independently. The focus on expression and communication
should help consumers develop their ability to interact with others,
and better comprehend social cues,” said Oddfellows’ Executive Director
Matthew Pugliese. “This is an underserved audience that is in equal
need for the experience and excitement of theater and the arts in their
“Communication, working together in a group,
sharing ideas and listening to others are skills that will help our
consumers retain jobs, interact with their families and strengthen their
self-confidence” said Lou Alperowitz, Vice President of MARC’s
Vocational and Leisure Services program.
MARC’s mission of
empowering people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to
realize their dreams fits well with Oddfellows Playhouse’s mission of
building essential life skills through the theatrical arts. The two
non-profits became neighbors three years ago, when MARC moved its
administrative offices from Portland to Middletown. The organizations
first collaborated in August 2012 on an original play at Oddfellows.
The overwhelmingly positive response from MARC consumers led to plans to
maintain a beneficial collaborative relationship.
consumers have the same hopes and dreams as everyone else. They want
jobs, they want to be independent and they want to have fun things to do
with their friends,” said MARC President/CEO Liz Warner. “Every
consumer involved with this new theatrical program is choosing to be
involved, and open to the possibilities. This will give them an
opportunity to try new things and make their dreams a reality.”
collaboration will begin in April and last for eight weeks. The
organizations are already working on securing funding to make this a
permanent part of MARC’s programming for people with disabilities. “We
are excited to begin this partnership with Oddfellows and want the
community to be involved. Funding is being sought make this a part of
our consumers’ lives year round,” said Andy Heuer, MARC Director of